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Suicidal thoughts triggered by other people's suicide
Researchers reported in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) that suicide can be contagious, and more so among adolescents.
Dr. Ian Colman, from the Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine and Canada Research Chair in Mental Health Epidemiology, explained that one person's suicide can have an impact on another's suicidal thoughts or behavior, especially among teenagers.
He adds that the teenagers do not necessarily have to be associated with the person who died by suicide to start having suicidal thoughts or attempting to end his/her own life.
Dr. Coleman wrote:
"When someone dies, particularly a young person, the deceased is described by their loved ones in the media and in social media in glowing, romantic terms, often mentioning how beautiful the child was.
Talk like this is common when any child dies, but it can be dangerous when talking about suicide. When other vulnerable youth are reading or hearing about this, they see the reports about how wonderful the person was and they want their loved ones to feel the same way about them."
Prevention of suicidal thoughts
Exercise has been shown to lift general mood and stave off suicidal thoughts.
Mental illness is the most common cause of suicidal ideation and completed suicide. A significant number of mental problems, such as depression, can be successfully treated with medications and talking therapies, such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) or counseling.
Individuals with a mental illness/problem should see their doctor and get treatment.
The following may help lower the risk of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts:
- Adherence (compliance) - this means following your treatment plan, going to follow-up appointments, taking medications as instructed, etc.
- Alcohol and illegal drugs - avoid them
- Avoid isolation - try to stay connected to the outside world
- Do exercise
- Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet
- Family - involve your family in treatment, get their support. Ask them to come along to your sessions, health care professionals can help them acquire better coping and supportive skills
- Focus on the good things in life (talking therapies may help you achieve this)
- Get at least 7-8 hours continuous sleep every 24-hour period
- Get treatment for a mental illness
- Means of ending one's life - get rid of guns, knives and dangerous drugs.
- Seek out things that give you pleasure, such as being with friends/family you like
- Self help groups - sharing the anguish and anxieties that drive you towards suicidal ideation can be relieving and comforting. You will see how others got through it. If you can support other people you may feel better about yourself and those around you.
If you are feeling suicidal, it is important to get help.
The following is a small selection of information that may help:
- Befrienders Worldwide - find contact numbers and support information for your country to allow you to talk to someone right now.
- USA: Childhelp - National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). All calls are anonymous and confidential.
- UK: ChildLine - Dial 0800 1111 to speak to a counselor. Calls are free and confidential.
- If you are thinking about suicide... read this first
- How to cope with suicidal feelings
- Depression: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
- PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
If you are considering self-harm, it is also important to get help and these sites may help you:
These are just a small selection of the options available to you - your doctor should be able to help. Please do not give up, you will feel better again.
Concussion multiplies the long-term risk of suicide in adults, especially if it happens on the weekend, according to research published in the CMAJ.
Results of a 2-year study on health and resilience in US veterans show that nearly 14% report having suicidal thoughts in one or both waves of the research.